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Summer Student 2022: Patricia Bailey

Summer Student 2022: Patricia Bailey

Validating a dementia cell-based model to study inflammation

Supervisor name and institution: Dr Patricia Ragazzon, Keele University

Project summary:

Recent research seems to point that several types of dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are affected by several factors including stress, diet, and environment. As it stands today, most of Alzheimer’s disease research has used animals including mice, rats and monkeys.

In my project, I will validate a human cell-based model to study monitor cellular stress and their effect on some characteristics of dementia. The cells will be fed a commercial animal free food solution, BrainPhys and will be treated with retinoic acid to make them to form neuron-like cells. A compound will be added to stimulate the formation of stress and some key aspects of dementia.

I will monitor how the cells cope with these changes, view if the cells can reduce this stress and if this would have an effect in the biomarkers of dementia. This validated animal free model can be used to study stress and inflammation with a focus on dementia, and will allow patient-oriented Alzheimer’s disease research in human cell systems.

Animals project will replace: Mice and rats

Get to know Patricia…

I am a mature student currently in my second year of Biomedical Science at Keele University. I have worked in pharmacy since I was 21 until I felt I needed more of a challenge and decided to return to education. I enrolled in an Access to Higher Education (Science) course and passed with all distinctions and was accepted to study Pharmacy at Keele.

I have always had a strong interest in medical and health science and animal testing is, historically, an important part of that field. The reasons for this are sound, in that in certain cases we cannot replicate responses we are looking for outside of animal or human tissues. Although research is advancing and better computer models and animal alternatives are becoming available, there is still much research to be done in this area.

As a child I grew up surrounded by animals and with the huge campaigns to stop animal testing for cosmetics and smoking. This left a huge imprint on me and to this day I hate to see an animal suffer. We have an ethical obligation to find as many viable alternatives to animal testing as we can to facilitate future research and in order to do that, we need to advance our research in animal free models.

This studentship will not only give me experience of working in a lab that is actively trying to find alternatives to animal testing but will also allow me the chance to work in a professional lab alongside qualified scientists. I will have the opportunity to develop practical skills with guidance from my colleagues and to understand more about the basic laboratory practices. Once I have completed my BSc I intend to continue onto a research Masters and the skills I will have the opportunity to develop here will be invaluable.



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Page last modified on July 6, 2022 2:22 pm